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Monitoring NPD to Understand Innovation Trends in Consumer Health

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Vitamins and dietary supplements (VDS) is by far the biggest and most vibrant category for new product development (NPD) according to Euromonitor’s Innovation tool which tracks NPD across the 50 most dynamic fmcg categories. Over 20% of new brand launches happen in this category. As a result, many industries turn to VDS for inspiration in innovation. Monitoring and understanding NPD trends in consumer health can help fmcg companies identify opportunities and inform strategic decisions to stay ahead of the curve.Chart showing New Brand Launch Events by Top Fmcg Categories

Brands are pushing category boundaries to address consumer need for holistic health

Consumers are increasingly health-conscious and embrace a more preventative and holistic approach to their health and wellness than a decade ago.

We have seen the share of consumers taking health supplements/vitamins at least weekly grow from 34% in 2015 to 50% in 2023

Source: Euromonitor Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, fielded January to February 2023

Today, health awareness reaches far beyond the consumer health segment, and influences purchasing decisions across various aspects of life. Utilising SKU scraping capabilities, Euromonitor’s Innovation data give visibility to where new products emerge, and which companies expand their portfolios and lead in terms of new product launches. For example, the data show that new brands are increasingly blurring the line between nutrition and health. Launched in 2023, Fast Twitch energy drinks in the US contain added vitamins and minerals for immune support, making the product a source of vitamin B.

Sub-brand launches soar as multifunctional combinations drive innovation in VDS

Innovation in VDS most often happens when brands expand their lines through adding new ingredients and combinations to their product portfolio. Euromonitor data show that sub-brands are the biggest contributors to new product launches, accounting for over 85% of NPDs in VDS across 2021-2023. Innovation in VDS is concentrated in a relatively small number of markets, where consumers are most receptive to trying new products.Chart showing Top Markets by NPD in Vitamins and Dietary Supplements 2023

Consumers are increasingly thinking about physical, emotional and mental health more holistically. They look for vitamin/dietary supplement blends that combine multiple needs in a pill or two. Additionally, consumers are more cautious about their spending due to rising prices. As a result, demand for multifunctional combination products with benefits across a range of health needs is on the rise.

The Olly brand is well known in the segment for its innovative products, which come in fruity flavours and new formulas, like gummy worms or rings, making vitamins fun for consumers of all ages. Multifunctionality and benefits are key drivers in Olly’s NPD strategy, helping the company put 14 new sub-brands on the market since 2021. All these blend ingredients to meet various health and wellness needs, like Olly Pre-Game Energize that boosts energy production and endurance. Olly products are predominantly present in the US, sold at multiple major retailers, like Target or Walmart, online. In 2023, some sub-brands also became available in European markets, including Germany, France and the UK.Chart showing brand retailer expansion

US leads new sports nutrition brand launches in the high growth potential category

Although significantly smaller in market size than VDS, sports nutrition is an important playground of NPD. The popularity of sports and fitness, as well as the increasing awareness around the importance of nutrition in enabling individuals to perform at their best, contributes to the growing demand for sports nutrition products globally. Sports nutrition innovation is bolstered by experimenting with new formats and flavours. While the most newly launched products are chocolate flavoured, fruit flavours, such as lemon, orange or mango, have also gained traction recently.

In 2023, the US market had the highest number of new sports nutrition brands appearing at online retailer

Source: Euromonitor International

Considering that the US accounts for almost 60% of the global sports nutrition market in value terms, its leading role in NPD launches is no surprise. The shift towards health-conscious lifestyles is projected to further drive growth in the segment. Euromonitor data project the global sports nutrition market to grow by a 9% CAGR between 2023 and 2028 in value terms, making it an appealing market for new entrants. Swedish brand, Barebells, for example, records dynamic growth in the segment. Over the past three years, its Soft Protein Bar line has not only expanded into most European markets and the US, but has done so through landing on the online shelf of over 40 different retailers.

Growing demand for meal replacement spurs NPD in weight management

Meal replacement products dominate new product activity across the weight management and wellbeing category. Consumers seeking to manage their weight in an easy way increasingly turn to meal replacement products, which provide essential nutrients and control calorie intake. As a result, more and more brands are entering and expanding into this segment. An example is Myprotein, the UK-based sports nutrition and activewear brand, which is actively present in the meal replacement segment as well. Myprotein Clear Whey Meal Replacement was first detected online in May 2022, and in just three months entered 10 additional markets across Europe, the US and Singapore. The product is available online in five additional fruit flavour combinations, supporting the fact that flavours are key drivers of innovation in meal replacement too.

Tracking NPD to give valuable insights to inform innovation strategy

Innovation in the consumer health industry is exceptionally dynamic. Companies across the fmcg space turn to it for inspiration as it helps them understand which benefits and attributes resonate with consumer needs the most to identify areas of future innovation for their business. Learning from the consumer health industry, companies should consider multifunctionality as an important quality in NPD, experiment with formats and flavours, and launch their products first in markets, where consumers are most open-minded towards trying new products.

To learn more about monitoring new brand and sub-brand launches, read our article, Strategies for Success in Innovation and New Product Development, and for a more focused overview of the global digital shelf, visit our Innovation product page.

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